Latest Updates: Our Blog

Storytelling with improved DocumentCloud notes

Feb 17th, 2016


Anthony DeBarros

Starting this week, DocumentCloud notes are sporting a subtle facelift that aligns their type style and color palette with the more modern aesthetic developed for our recently launched page embed.

Notes, like pages, are fully responsive, lightweight and a great choice for websites viewed on a variety of screen sizes. Plus, each note includes a link to view the full document. With today’s update, notes adapt better to varying device widths and rely less on expensive JavaScript calculations.

Here’s a note in action:

A key procedure — doing a 360-degree scan of the structure — was not followed, according to the report. Also, personnel did not observe the fire on the first floor of the house.

Using notes to strengthen the narrative

Improved storytelling is one of DocumentCloud’s aims, and weaving notes into a story can build a stronger narrative. For example, the Chicago Tribune recently reported details on when aides to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel became aware of facts in the police shooting of Laquan McDonald. Reporters placed notes at key points in the story to highlight portions of emails, calendar items and other documents showing when officials discussed the shooting.

Oregon Public Broadcasting also used notes to highlight phrases in potentially confusing earthquake insurance policies. By weaving notes into the story, readers could quickly view the specific contract language the story discussed.

Our work on notes and pages is leading towards improvements to our main document viewer and is part of an effort to improve overall publishing performance. Our code is open source, so if you’re a developer you can follow progress on notes, pages, and our whole platform on Github. As always, we welcome your thoughts at

Leave a Reply